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How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?

Although most cancers are diagnosed via a biopsy, a prostate cancer diagnosis relies on some  screening tests early in the process before a final diagnosis is made. So exactly what are the steps and how is prostate cancer diagnosed?

Screening Tests For Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer can be asymptomatic, so screening tests are ways to determine if there may be cancer present in the prostate. The tests can’t actually say a man has cancer, but they can determine any abnormality.

Digital Rectal Exam or DRE

man at urology consultation speaking with doctor

This screening test is usually the first one used. Dr. Steven Gange inserts a lubricated gloved finger into the rectum to look for lumps or anything unusual.  Although it may be uncomfortable, it is not painful and it only takes a few seconds.

PSA Test

PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen blood test. PSA is a protein containing both normal and cancer cells in the prostate. The level of PSA is measured and if the results are in the lower level, it usually means there is no cancer present. Unfortunately, that is not always true.

When the level reaches 4 and above there may be a chance there is cancer present, but this is not a positive diagnosis. If the level is between 4 and 10, there is approximately a 1 in 4 chance there is cancer.

If the level is above 10, there is a 50% chance there is cancer.

Many conditions can affect PSA levels in men, so it is critical to ask Dr. Steven Gange about what could be causing your PSA number to be abnormal.

If you and your physician decide the risk of cancer is high enough to do a biopsy, that would be the next step to diagnose prostate cancer.


A biopsy is the best way to diagnose any cancer by removing tissue from the area for analysis. Doctors regard the Gleason Score as a way to assess the tissue, interpret if there is cancer, and if it is likely to spread.

The score ranges from 2 through 10. The lower the score means the cancer is less likely to spread.


Once the diagnosis is made, staging is the next step. This determines if the cancer is confined to the prostate or if it has spread to other organs. Additional tests will confirm the stage. This is critical in order to know what treatments you will need to keep the cancer within the prostate or prevent it from spreading further.

Since prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death for men in the United States, it is best to discover it early and to consult with Dr. Steven Gange about your treatment options.

As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (801) 993-1800 or request an appointment online today.



I have seen Dr. Gange for a number of years and developed the typical symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. During my annual urologist visit, Dr. Gange laid out my options. After doing some personal research, I elected to have the Urolift procedure performed by Dr. Gange on an outpatient basis.

The procedure was uncomfortable but not particularly painful compared to other surgeries I have had. Recovery was relatively quick and I was back at work after two days of rest.

I did experience some significant discomfort associated with urination but was counseled that I was not drinking enough water. Once I increased my consumption of water, most of the discomfort went away and I was back to normal after about two weeks.

In the wake of the surgery, the urgency to urinate has gone away. The interval between trips to the bathroom has lengthened significantly such that I usually get up to urinate only once each night and sometimes not at all.

Having talked with others who have had more drastic prostate surgery, I feel that the Urolift procedure was much less stressful and the results were as hoped for.